The Australian Government has funded $225 million over the next four years for the Industry Growth Centres Initiative to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness to ensure Australia's ongoing prosperity. The industry-led approach to the Initiative will identify opportunities to : reduce regulatory burden, increase collaboration and commercialisation, improve capabilities to engage with international markets and global supply chains and enhance management and workforce skills.

Two Centres releated to the resources sector are the Australian Energy Resources Growth Centre (AER) and Mining Equipment, Technology and Services Growth Centre (METS). They will assist Australian industry to better connect with research and development and scentific knowlege generated in Australia. They are currently developing strategies specific to their sector. After extensive stakeholder consultation across the country, please see the themes below and how they relate to researchers: 

AUSTRALIAN ENERGY RESOURCES GROWTH CENTRE (AER)

The AER Growth Centre will work with the oil, gas, coal and uranium sectors to unlock commercial opportunities and drive innovation by building links between businesses and industry organisations and the science and research sector. The Growth Centre's headquarters will be co-located with WA-ERA at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Technology Park, Perth. 

Eight themes are guiding the process - please see the following:  

Theme 1 – High Cost Structure
An increased focus by researchers to reduce the high cost across industry activities - exploration, development, construction, drilling, production,CO2 management, water management, field decommissioning (for both onshore and offshore), operations & maintenance activities.

Theme 2 – Sustainability
An increased focus by researchers on the social, economic environmental and operational consequences of industry activity and establishing an independent custodian of scientific data

Theme 3 – Unlocking unconventional gas 
An increased focus by researchers on the knowledge and techniques for unconventional gas development to improve identification of resources, appraisal of resource and cost effective development techniques.

Theme 4 – Work skills
Understand the medium and long term skills needs of sector.

Theme 5 – Industry-led research
Industry has a positive view of the research sector and the impact it has had on industry growth. Areas for improvement include: increasing ‘industry-led’ research (relative to ‘basic research’); stronger engagement between industry and research organisations; streamlining research funding application processes; adapting measurement systems inside universities so applied research is better valued; stronger engagement with mid-tier and SMEs with researchers and research opportunities; and making available a reliable database of research related information (including: research completed, underway and planned; researchers’ specialisations; and specialist equipment available for use).

Theme 6 – Regulatory burden
Areas to reduce regulatory burden include transitioning to outcome-based regulations (rather than prescriptive regulation); harmonisation of regulations (between states; and between states and commonwealth); acceptance of international standards; and streamlining of regulatory processes

Theme 7 – Supply Chain
Improve the competitiveness and productivity of the supply chain in sector.

Theme 8 – Predictive Data analytics
An increased focus by researchers on advanced predictive data analytics capability to support detailed performance analysis and improvement.

More information here and on Industry Growth Centres here

MINING EQUIPMENT, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES GROWTH CENTRE (METS)

This Growth Centre will link hubs around Australia to strengthen and leverage existing collaborative relationships, which will improve the sector's competitiveness and productivity. The first hub has been launched at the Queensland University of Technology and it will:

1.  Promote the Australian METS industry nationally and globally.

2.  Facilitate an informed and connected innovation ecosystem that improves connections between research collaboration and commercialisation activity. 

3.  Identify the required skills and management capabilities for now and in the future to ensure the best people can be attracted to and trained in Australian METS firms.

4.  Increase the number of Australian METS firms participating in global supply chains. 

5.  Identify and advocate for effective regulation reform to reduce the burden of business and encourage investment, transformation and growth in the METS sector.  

More information here